Arson and electrical faults push farm fire claims to £49.1m

Electrical faults and arson have contributed significantly to a five-year high of claims for farm fires, which cost the industry £49.1m last year.

Fires caused by electrical faults totalled £25m and arson £9m, NFU Mutual’s 2019 statistics show. The cost of arson damage rose by 40%.

The rural insurer urged farmers to check fire precautions and evacuation plans.

See also: Arson warning after farm fires in Northamptonshire

Although the number of farm fires last year was at a similar level to 2018 across the UK, the damage was more costly, and equated to a rise of nearly 6%.

Andy Manson, managing director of NFU Mutual Risk Management Services (RMS), said the rise in arson damage was alarming.

“Many farmers are feeling particularly vulnerable this year and with straw in short supply after the poor harvest, more and more are using remote camera systems linked to mobile phones as well as fencing off straw stacks and farm buildings to discourage arsonists,” Mr Manson said.

Electric advice

Electrical faults accounted for more than half the total last year, and RMS advised farmers to have regular electrical inspections, not to overload power supplies and to have enough plug sockets to avoid using multi-gangs and other adapters.

The Midlands was the worst-affected region by cost in 2019, totalling £13.2m. The north-east of England was the second worst-affected region, with fire claims costs totalling £7.6m (up from £4.7m in 2018), followed by the east of England with claims totalling £7m (down from £11.1m in 2018).

NFU Mutual’s initial claims figures from January to July 2020 have seen an increase in both incidents and cost, suggesting that 2020 could be heading towards a six-year high.

NFU Mutual farm fire claims cost by area (to nearest £100,000)













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North East








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